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The big selling point forThe Way of the Gunis the fact that it was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the guy who wroteThe Usual Suspects. Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillippe star as two low-rent criminals who fall into a plan to kidnap a surrogate mother (Juliette Lewis) who is carrying a baby for a very wealthy couple. The duo are immediately in over their heads, and their kidnapping plot brings to light the dark and hidden tendrils of the old man's family structure. It also brings on lots of gunfights and lots of blood. McQuarrie creates some good action sequences (particularly the slow-moving car "chase" through the alleys), but that only serves to emphasize the one major weakness of the film: the script. Though it's chock full of macho declarations, shootouts, and "surprise" revelations, the core story is ultra-predictable. That wouldn't be so bad if there were any characters to care about, but only a supporting performance from James Caan elicits any kind of sympathy. This is merely a movie based on violent movies, with no additional commentary. Then again, McQuarrie does do a nice job with much of the action. Though nowhere near as good asThe Usual Suspects, particularly in its story,The Way of the Gunis a promising debut for McQuarrie as a director.--Andy Spletzer
Enjoy it on its own terms Does this movie compare to THE USUAL SUSPECTS?
Does it matter?
Anyone brilliant enough to write the screenplay for SUSPECTS must have more than one movie in him, and McQuarrie proves he does with this. Some reviewers remarked about how he doesn't make you care for the characters in his film. And I think they missed the point: you're not supposed to. McQuarrie figures out how to make you enjoy watching them without either caring about them or being totally replused by them. He achieves a sacred principle of both writing and directing--making it a lot easier on even great actors like Del Toro and James Caan: freeing you from existential judgment or the self-referentialness lessor screen writers can fall into. This creates room for the nilhist philosophy and betrayal that competes with anything that can be called deep and abiding love whereever it occurs in this film.
EVERYONE in this movie is a "bag man;" even the unborn children. As such McQuarrie is saying something pretty deep about the modern world in total. And yet he does it in the context of not boring us to tears with preaching or burdening our minds with too much philosophy, pertinent or otherwise. All while giving us some of the most innovative car chases and shoot-em-up action scenes done in some time.
This movie came out in 2000, and to see how the actors have evolved since then is refreshing and exhilharating all by itself. Caan looks about ten years younger in the successful NBC-TV show LAS VEGAS of today than he does in this movie; showing off, obviously, the prodigious acting skills that forever remind us that THE GODFATHER was no fluke. (He is acting older and more beat down in this movie than he probably ever has been.) Every actor puts in some serious work in this, and make it worth seeing, and worth owning. And McQuarrie's writing and directing make it worth thinking about afterwards.shoot out in ho house is a stand out This film is usually tagged as a Tarantino wanna-be but it has little in common with jokey pieces of fluff like PULP FICTION. This is a densely over-plotted film-- there's a few too many layers of deception among a few too many characters-- but it at least takes the idea of death seriously. This is not light-hearted stuff, it's almost solemn. i found it to be more interesting than the massively over-rated USUAL SUSPECTS. It suffers in the sense of not clearly fleshing out the personalities of most of its characters but it ends with one of the all-time greatest mexican whorehouse shoot-outs i've ever seen.HAS ENOUGH BLOOD TO GAG A VAMPIRE Brief plot summary: two low life hoods kidnap a pregnant surrogate mother. Her baby's "father" (sort of) turns out to be a mob boss (or has mob connections), said mob boss whistles up his goons, they go after the hoods, and then a lot of people die. If you like watching characters for whom you care nothing about get slaughtered in bloody gun fights, this film is for you. You don't have to worry about a plot or being required to use your brain, just sit back and watch the mayhem. Speaking for myself, the first 10 minutes of guttermouth verbal abuse directed at del Torro and his pal by the woman he ended up punching out was more than enough for me, but unfortunately, the friends I was with wanted to see the whole thing, and I had to sit through the whole thing to the very bloody end. So, in summary, Way of the Gun is just a Pulp Fiction wannabe put together by some Quentin Tarrantino wannabe and you could do a lot better for an evening's home viewing. If gritty violence is what you like, and feasable plots are optional, Narc with Jason Patrick (one of Hollywood's better stars and one of the least appreciated) and Ray Liotta is a far more masterful piece of film than the sophmoric Way of the Gun.